Insulting and Judgmental Comments

 Something I was not prepared for post breast reconstruction, are the judgmental comments the scar on my belly is attracting.

I have been undergoing abdominal ultrasounds to try and figure out the problems I am having with my period.

The ultrasound people keep referring to the scar on my belly as a "tummy tuck". I've even been asked "why have you had a tummy tuck?"

 I have a lot of scars on my body. I am proud of every one of them. They are proof of all the crap I have been through with Hodgkin's lymphoma and breast cancer. None of these scars attract the same judgment and comments as the one on my belly.

I have not had a tummy tuck! I had a bilateral skin sparing mastectomy and DIEP flap reconstruction! I was in surgery for 9 hours! I was in hospital for 7 days! I was off work for 10 weeks!  I chose to undergo this surgery to remove breast cancer and reduce the risk of recurrence and death!!!!!! I was so SCARED going into that surgery!!

This was no FUCKING tummy tuck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  • Afraser
    Afraser Member Posts: 4,369
    I have found the majority of medical related staff to be highly professional
    and thoughtful. But not all. Occasionally you hit someone who either failed to engage their brain before opening their mouth or who
    thinks seeing your body entitles them to make uninformed comments on it. You do everyone else a favour by commenting, politely of course, on the inappropriateness of their comments. They may think twice next time. 
    Deep breath! 
  • Cath62
    Cath62 Member Posts: 1,274
    Hi @Dh5Wy83, most people mean well but don't always get everything right. I can understand someone doing an ultrasound asking if your scar related to a tummy tuck especially if they can't see your entire body or chest. They don't know what they don't know.

    Perhaps they could have asked what they scar related to instead.  Maybe they could have said nothing.  It is possible perhaps that they were trying to understand the scar tissue and what it was from so they could report properly for your ultrasound report. 

    Our scars are sensitive to us and they tell our story. I have so many scars from various surgeries you could play snakes and ladders on my body. I don't worry about the comments anymore but it took me all my years to date to get to that point. 

    Best thing to do when people are inappropriate is to be as nice as possible and explain politely and they will hopefully learn something from you. 
  • Keeping_positive1
    Keeping_positive1 Member Posts: 555
    edited December 2022
    They are being unprofessional, to put it mildly.  I agree with @Afraser with commenting politely of course on the unprofessionalism they are displaying.  

    It is bad enough with people we know friends/acquaintances making ridiculous comments, but we should not expect those comments coming from the medical people that are testing / treating us.  Take care and just make sure you have the last say when they make these presumptions about any of your scars.  It would really annoy me also to be honest.  A tummy tuck is presuming you wanted cosmetic surgery to flatten your tummy, perhaps they could have just asked you what was the scar from.  

    On a side note, the year before I was diagnosed with breast cancer I had some surgery on my thyroid, and I have a scar on my throat area, and I had a complete stranger ask me did I cut my throat.  I replied jokingly, yes I slit my throat. :)

    What they are saying to you is not funny, but you could also point out their stupidity of making such an assumption.  Wishing you all the best with your next appointment, and I hope you put them back in their place. xx

  • Keeping_positive1
    Keeping_positive1 Member Posts: 555
    edited December 2022
    If they have got foot in mouth disease, they may very well not know, so you can "politely" tell them it isn't "polite" to assume because you see a scar on my tummy, that I have had a tummy tuck!   

    When we are not well, we are vulnerable, tired and weak and often we are "more" polite because we don't have the energy nor inclination to correct people the same way we may when we are not in a vulnerable position, I get that! 

    But if these comments are happening quite a bit to you @Dh5Wy83 be prepared with a response.  It is OK to tell them what the scar is from, because after all they are doing the tests and want to know what he scar is a result of, unfortunately they have jumped to conclusions which is not professional at all.   

    All the tests you are having are exhausting, so also give yourself some grace, and try not to let their comments get to you.  You have been through a lot and I hope you get to the bottom of your health concerns soon and get the treatment you need very soon.
  • Cath62
    Cath62 Member Posts: 1,274
    Oh dear @Dh5Wy83 this is hard isn't it. I have felt like that too. Once I lost it at someone and cried they did my ultrasound.

    A stupid girl without inexperience got to me because she asked me if I did breast examinations. Was she kidding I almost did a breast examination every day after bread cancer. I was lying on the ultrasound table with my lopsided breasts. Shit I couldn't believe it. I was weeping but angry too. 

    My answer to her was to asked that girl what she would do in terms of a breast examination if she had breast cancer. She didn't know what to say and so she asked me again. Was she serious. I gave her a death stare. She wanted to know if I wanted to stop the ultrasound. I said no but I wanted a different person to do it. That happened and the owner of that business got feedback. Funny I have never seen her again. 

    If you are feeling people are inappropriate and sick of being polite try saying what you want and see if that works better for you. Giving feedback is a good way to vent too. 

  • Keeping_positive1
    Keeping_positive1 Member Posts: 555
    @Cath62 I wonder how uncomfortable that stupid girl would have felt if you had replied............ Oh Der!

    Some can be either condescending or just plain stupid, couldn't she see what you had already been through?  Good you gave her the death stare.  

    I have mammograms yearly now, so I am very, very polite to the mammo lady who is about to squash my boobs between the plates..... heehee :) I am getting better at choosing my battles :)
  • Abbydog
    Abbydog Member Posts: 482
    I would have expected better from a health professional.
    People really don't always think before speaking.
    I told my sister that I was going to hospital in October for Stage 2 of my Breast Reconstruction.
    It involved having tissue expanders removed and breast implants put in.
    She said Oh, you're having a boob job. 
    I'm sure she just wasn't thinking, but it was upsetting and annoying.
  • Keeping_positive1
    Keeping_positive1 Member Posts: 555
    @Abbydog I wonder if sometimes relatives are trying to bring a bit of humor to the situation.  What an awful comment your sister made though.

    The amount of times I had to stop myself from crying in front of people making fun of my situation still haunts me at times, and has affected quite a few friendships and family relationships that I now have to be very careful with what I share and with whom.  
  • Zoffiel
    Zoffiel Member Posts: 3,372
    @Dh5Wy83 as a long term proponent of calling out crappy treatment I suggest you tell the next person who makes an inappropriate comment to pull their head in.

    If you can firmly deliver 'Please do not .....' you can regain a lot of agency.

    The key is to be polite while making it quite clear that you know they have breached policy and procedure.

    Difficult when you just want to head butt them, I know
  • brightspace
    brightspace Member Posts: 445
    Being proactive and our own advocate is important to the management of the many scans that we need 
    I am lucky  to not have had insensitive comments during 12 years of constant scans and checkups for Mets bc.
    What has been important to me is that I always explained that I have had  surgeries  they are confronting  . 
  • Keeping_positive1
    Keeping_positive1 Member Posts: 555
    edited December 2022
    I have never personally had any inappropriate comments from health professionals except when a relative took me to chemo one time, and engaged an oncology nurse in a conversation about euthanasia, and which types of cancers would warrant considering euthanasia.  All this conversation was taking place as I sat there having chemotherapy running through my veins.
  • Cath62
    Cath62 Member Posts: 1,274
    Wow @Keeping_positive1 that was not the conversation to be having you hear while you are having chemo. Seriously wonder about people's emotional intelligence sometimes.